Death is Wrong, Free PDF Version

Fresh from the success of a fundraiser to distribute copies of the children's book Death is Wrong, the PDF version is now freely available. Grassroots advocacy for longevity science is made up of many such small projects, all of which are collectively necessary as a foundation for attracting greater support from more conservative institutions and high net worth individuals. Large donations only reliably arrive for fields in which public support is active and involved in this way:

At least 1,029 children in at least 14 countries will be taught that death is wrong as a result of the successful provision of Death is Wrong books to 50 longevity activists throughout the world. On August 7, 2014, the last book shipment, free for all recipients, was made, paid for by the funds raised through the Indiegogo campaign I ran in coordination with the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE). (Read Eric Schulke's earlier article about the success of the fundraiser and the tremendous efforts and publicity that made it possible.) While some of my critics, such as Slate's Joelle Renstrom, preemptively proclaimed that the funds raised would fall well short of the goal, we actually not only reached the goal in time but even exceeded it - and we have already spent all the money raised on providing free books to children.

Now that my campaign to spread over 1,000 Death is Wrong books to children has succeeded, I have asked myself what I could do to spread the book and its message even further. In an effort to increase the readership of the book, I have made the Second Edition available for free download as a PDF file. Perhaps, in this way, the book could reach tens or even hundreds of thousands of readers. Thus far, PDF versions are available in English, Russian, and Spanish.



Maybe a children's parable isn't the optimal format for presenting this information? Maybe a website with pictures that on mouseover bring up blocks of additional text or even short explanatory videos. But that would take time to produce and would need to be weighed against the expected audience size. Also I understand that slick websites don't come for free.

Posted by: Jim at August 18th, 2014 6:27 PM

Having actually read the book a bit more I can see that it is more a long form essay than a children's parable with characters. I was imagining this book was something along the lines of "The Berenstain Bears Cheat Aging And Death" with the young bears being subjected to all the philosophical, ecological, and religious attempts to justify and not think about solving aging, but then realizing the invalidity of these arguments in a world where biotechnology can make a different (explaining all that in parable form is a tall order I know).

Here the Berenstain bears are taught why regular medical check ups are important:

You could also whack in a part 2 of "Death is Wrong" explaining the SENS approach in cartoons somehow? And the funding struggle?

Whether or not it is worth doing all that for the size of the audience it would reach and convince is an open question?

Posted by: Jim at August 18th, 2014 6:42 PM

@Mark - Cheers, I had seen the "fable of the Tyrant Dragon" it had slipped my mind.

I guess that the "fable of the Tyrant Dragon" didn't have a huge amount of impact, I'm guessing that not a lot of people beyond those already interested in reversing aging saw it.

I think part of the cleverness of "Death is wrong" is that it was partially an attempt to troll mainstream media outlets into giving rejuvenation biotechnology and SENS some coverage through being explicitly for children about a somewhat taboo subject. Slate's response was exactly what was intended.

Posted by: Jim at August 19th, 2014 6:11 PM

I think it's a well intentioned concept but overall very silly.

Posted by: Michael-2 at August 19th, 2014 8:07 PM

Having read the book I think it is very good. My daughter and her friend appreciated the book as both have recently had love ones pass. The writing style was excellent.
As far as a need for Berenstain bears type books, I think that this is dumbing down writing. I understand that it is a childrens' book. But my opinion on the matter is that we should be educating our children. Providing them with literature that advances their education, and not seeking the lowest common denominator. In the 70's and 80's, I read many more books with far fewer pictures than my children do today. It may be due to my mother's friend was a librarian and she used it as a day care center for me while she worked 60 hours a week.

I do agree that it needs a more interactive treatment like many mobile stories do. See some of the Dr. Seuss interactive application on the Apple and Android stores. But the writing quality and style should not be sacrificed.

Posted by: Andrzej at August 30th, 2014 5:17 AM
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